The hardest thing about writing, for me, is actually getting down to it and doing it. My favourite ways to procrastinate are devious, because they often look so industrious, so productive, so thoroughly worthwhile, that it barely occurs to me to crack the whip. My variety of stalling—working on assignments, paying bills, doing lesson prep, “improving” my craft via Internet forums, etc—is the very worst type, because I feel so justified and righteous while not doing what I know I should (and worse, what I really want) to be doing.
Well, now—at least for while I’m in the first blush of New Year’s resolutions—I may have found a way to foil my do-anything-but ways. Each week, I’m creating a weekly work calendar (time-slotted, guys. Yikes!). And more importantly, I’m adhering to it. I’ve even assigned specific e-mail, blog, and forum time. Wah. So yes, right now, I’m not actually playing hooky…. I’m using scheduled time. (Yes, I am fully aware of how pathetic that is.)
The irony of my renewed commitment? My own writing-avoidance methods are partially to thank for it. As I was putting off getting down to something, I was reading from Eliza Clark’s Writer’s Gym (a book of exercises and training tips for writers) and came upon an interview with Val McDermid. At one point she was asked, “If the writing life is a pie, how would you slice it up and what size would the pieces be?”
She answered, “35% talent, 40% hard work, 25% luck.”
I assumed she was speaking to the having books published aspect of the writing life, and found her words inspiring. She acknowledges luck and talent, but feels work has the most weight. And really, talent-shmalent…. I think you get born with some, yes, but it’s amazing how working hard at something will make it seem like you just have a “gift” for it. And luck? Again I have a sneaking suspicion that those who get lucky in the story-telling business sat their butts down at their desks and wrote a lot of words before luck magically befell them.
And on that note, I have to go. My allotted blogging time is up. 😉